Long Bien Bridge Hanoi

Long Bien Bridge Hanoi : These two bridges were for a long time the only land access points to Hanoi for many peasants living on the east side of the Red River (now new and less impressive but functional bridges are located to the north and south).

Long Bien Bridge is a massive iron structure built by the French in the late 1800s and designed by Gustav Eiffel, the engineer best known for his eponymous landmark in Paris. The bridge has suffered at the hands of war and neglect over the years. It was once known as Doumer Bridge, after the French governor-general Paul Doumer, who was responsible for setting up the French administration and implementing huge public works projects. In 1983 Chuong Duong Bridge was opened, becoming the main thoroughfare for traffic to the north. 

Long Bien Bridge is still used, but only for trains, pedestrians, bicycles and motorcycles. The bridge is quite a sight in the mornings and afternoons as people from outlying areas queue up to cross it, carrying their produce to and from the markets. It is easy to walk across and the views down onto passing boat traffic and of Hanoi's riverfront stretch are very pleasing. In October 2009, the city of Hanoi sponsored the first Long Bien Festival of Arts, and there's talk of  another in October 2010 to celebrate the city's 1000-year birthday. For an entire weekend, the bridge is closed to all traffic and turned into a pedestrian venue for artists, calligraphers, and trinket sellers.

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